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Re: Viet Nam

Patrick Binns Westbrook Associates LLC, United States of America
Patrick  Binns
Dear FAO Moderator,
The primary driver of sustainable development in Vietnam will be expanded higher education of young women and men focusing on the managerial and scientific skills needed to implement environmentally integrated private enterprise solutions to future challenges. It will be critically important to develop new generations of entreprenurial and technological leaders who will balance the pursuit of Return on Investment objectives with the imperative to restore and steward the nation's 'natural capital assets' of fertile agricultural land; fresh water resources; productive fisheries; and healthy ecosystem habitats that provide important environmental services to the common welfare.
With a particular focus on enabling long term food security under impending climate change stresses; Vietnam would greatly benefit from an increased priority to develop and use biofertilizers and biopesticides that are produced by domestic suppliers. These environmentally benign, yet highly productive agricultural input technologies would support increased crop yields while reducing the costs and pollution associated with intensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. There is mounting field evidence of the positive impacts of biofertilizers on a wide variety of crops and produce; and their potential to help Vietnam reduce its costs of importing synthetic inputs from foreign sources. The development of indigenous beneficial soil biota with plant growth promotion properties is well established in Vietnam and elsewhere throughout the world. What is urgently needed now is progressive and innovative private and public capital support to energize wide spread commercialization.
There is also an urgent need to address the serious threats to fresh water fisheries in the Mekong River Basin. A significant portion of Vietnam's protein food sources are harvested from the Mekong River and downstream coastal areas. However, there are major hydroelectric dam projects now under construction in Laos and China and many more in the planning stages that could seriously impair the survival of hundreds of fish species that migrate and spawn along the length of the river and its tributaries. The technical capabilities to build fish ladders and other fish migration waterways that could support the wide variety of fish in the Mekong Basin are largely unknown at this time. There should be an international, multilateral agreement to avoid disrupting the ecological habitats and migration processes of the Mekong's rich fishery resources; and an immediate consideration of more appropriately scaled and sited hydropower dams that could operate in a more healthy co-existence and balance with fisheries and the livelihoods and food security they provide to Vietnam and the entire SE Asian region.